Research effects of father absence



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This child was one of the preeminent men of the 19th Century. He was born in 1808 in New Hampshire. He was the eighth child of 11 children. When he was nine years old his father, a tavern owner and local politician died.

His mother moved the family to a small farm she had inherited. But within a year they fell on hard times, and the boy and one of his brothers were sent off to Ohio for three years to live with an uncle, previously a stranger, who was an Episcopal Bishop and educator.

After receiving an excellent education thanks to his uncle, the child attended Dartmouth where he studied law. After graduating, he opened a law practice, and became well-known as an abolitionist lawyer, defending many fugitive slaves and those who helped them. While he was still a young man, he declared slavery to be unconstitutional in a trial in which he was defending a fugitive woman. An older lawyer in the courtroom was heard to remark, "There goes a promising young man who has just ruined himself."

One of the things this child wrote during his lifetime is remembered today in the public discourse more than the man himself, or the details about his life.

On the coins that are in your pocket is his most famous phrase. He was the man responsible for putting it there. It is: "In God We Trust".

He was, during his long political career, a Whig, a member of the Free Soil Party -- a group that separated itself from the Democrats, a Republican, and then briefly, a Democrat again when he quarreled with reconstructionist Republicans. He was the first abolitionist elected to the United States Senate as an abolitionist, and not from any party at all. In between stints as a U.S. Senator, he was the governor of Ohio.

He was the primary reformer in Abraham Lincoln's cabinet. He was described as a "towering figure" in his times, a man who actually argued with Lincoln and felt himself to be Lincoln's intellectual superior. It was he who convinced Lincoln that the Civil War should not be limited to preserving the Union, but primarily associated with abolishing slavery and other injustices.

He was Abraham Lincoln's first Secretary of the Treasury and later a Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. There is a law school in Kentucky named after him. One of the largest banks in the country today also is named after him. This great American statesman, economist, jurist, abolitionist, and the man whose face was once featured on the American $10,000 bill, was

Salmon P. Chase, a boy from a "fatherless home."

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* The term "fatherless" is used in this series as it is in current research and policy rhetoric by the U.S. federal government, DHHS and the National Fatherhood Initiative, most U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood interest policy and lobbying groups.

"...Just add Dad, the magic ingredient. It's hard to know where wishful thinking becomes deliberate deception. But this argument, advanced by the fathers' rights movement, is like saying that, since Mercedes Benz owners make more money than people who drive Hyundais, you will become wealthy if you buy a Mercedes..." Mike Peterson



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